The team of Company Vehicle test the 2017 Ford Escape – “an impressive package that catapults Ford back up into serious consideration in the medium SUV segment…. high quality interior, strong engine, nimble handling and comfortable ride all score highly, as does the high level of equipment”.
The medium SUV segment would seem to be the essential place to be these days, with the massive boom in sales showing no signs of levelling off.
That, however, did leave Ford looking a bit sick. While they did have an entrant intro category, it was far from competitive, despite it not being all that old.
Ford has replaced the Kuga with the new Escape. Although “new” is a relative term here, as the Escape is pretty much a Kuga with a new name, a new face and a far, far better interior.
Ford also took the opportunity to add more FWD models to its line up, but we are not concerned with those today, as what we have here is the top-spec AWD Titanium.
At $53,490, the petrol-powered Titanium is second only to the diesel version in the Escape hierarchy, with both carrying equivalent levels of equipment.
The petrol Titanium is powered by Ford’s excellent 2.0-litre EcoBoost inline four-cylinder turbo engine that produces an impressive 178kW of power and 345Nm of torque. The direct-injection engine is hooked up to a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission and Ford claim a combined fuel consumption figure of 8.6L/100km.
While this fuel figure is largely accurate with a decent amount of open road motoring, it does tend to be a bit thirsty around town. But it is still less thirsty than the smaller 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine was in the Kuga, however.
Out on the road the Escape is an effortless performer, thanks to the powerful and flexible engine. It has impressively small amounts of body roll for a tall SUV and the nose tucks nicely into corners, responding sharply and obediently to the nicely weighted steering.
There was actually little to criticise the Escape about on the road, so it is impressive to see that Ford have made the Escape even better.
One area where the Escape far, far outshines the previous car is the interior. A massive improvement in material quality has lifted the Escape to another level, while the seats are fantastically comfortable and supportive.
The Escape features the latest generation of Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system, this time incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone mirroring. This has seen a complete redesign of the SYNC system and it is now a far more intuitive and easy to use system, which is helped immensely by a far faster and more responsive touchscreen.
While the interior quality is massively improved, its design is still somewhat dated and the otherwise-excellent touchscreen’s usability is somewhat compromised by its slightly too upright and slightly obscured by the dash positioning.
The Escape Titanium is an impressive package that catapults Ford back up into serious consideration in the medium SUV segment. The high quality interior, strong engine, nimble handling and comfortable ride all score highly, as does the high level of equipment. The Escape certainly should help Ford escape the unfortunate connotations of the Kuga’s name…